When did Medicare Part D start?
The roots of Medicare Part D, also known as Medicare Prescription Drug Plans or PDPs, began in the late 1990s and early 2000s among widespread concern over exceedingly high prescription drug prices in America and particularly the impact that these high prices would have on seniors. The legislation that officially introduced Part D, known as the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act, was signed into law by president George W. Bush on December 8th, 2003, though full Medicare Part D coverage did not begin until January 1st, 2006. This act, commonly abbreviated as MMA, was the biggest alteration made to the Medicare program in 38 years and also brought on several other changes, including the use of the term “Medicare Advantage Plan” to refer to Medicare-approved private health plans. Prior to the passage of the MMA, Medicare only covered drugs received in a hospital or doctor’s office (i.e., drugs were only covered under Medicare Parts A and B). It was only with the passage of the MMA and subsequent introduction of Medicare Part D that beneficiaries were able to receive Medicare coverage for outpatient prescription drugs.
Who qualifies for Medicare Part D?